Monday, December 31, 2012


There is a difference between being child-ish and being child-like.  I opt for the latter.  As the last few minutes of December bring us closer to the new year, and the photos of myself show that I am not looking any younger, I wish for finding ways to be child-like forever.

Last night we felt the magic as we clapped and believed with all our hearts that we could save Tinkerbell.  Our eyes and hearts spilled over with a powerful joy as she flew again.  Mason and Ellie snuggling into me in the darkness of the theater as Peter Pan flew out over the crowd sprinkling magic fairy dust all around is a moment I want to remember always.  We soared with hope and wonder.

As we stayed until the very end of Peter Pan's meet and greet, Mason hunting for treasures among the fairy dust sprinkled lobby, and Ellie running, singing, "flying" all around I thought ahead to this morning, knowing I would be making a Peter Pan costume to make sure the magic would not end.

"You can fly Onyx!"
Sure enough, when we awoke Ellie found her fairy dust that Peter Pan gave her last night when we met her.  She had proclaimed on the car ride home that she could be Peter Pan because Peter Pan is really a girl.  Oh and "Mommy, Peter Pan has short hair and I have short hair, so I can be Peter Pan".  If we believe, it is so.

Soon enough fairy dust was flying at me and I was told I could fly.  Ellie flew through the kitchen asking me who I was and continued to throw fairy dust long after her container ran out.

The floor was sparkling with silver and before I knew it, I was sewing a Peter Pan costume for Ellie to go along with Mason's from Halloween 2011. She was no longer Tinkerbell, she was Peter Pan.

It pays to have scraps of felt hanging around.
And that belt from Mason's shorts that he never wore has sure come in handy for Puss in Boots and Peter Pan!

The joy of fantasy and play beats out head colds, coughs and such.  If you are Peter Pan there is no room for being sick.  However, you can come close to death due to pirates and need your family to believe that their applause will bring you back to life.

This older brother is always looking out for her.
His get well gift for Peter Pan.  "You can even turn it into a kite on a windy day."  I love that boy!
Ready to fight those pirates again!
We played and played and played and just when I thought the cold had possibly beat us, there was a second wind. The afternoon brought us outside to find a wrench for family that were stopping by and cupcakes were shared with them.  When Mason and Daddy returned from their adventures, Peter Pan and I had "cleaned the ship" and all the leaves were gone.  Mason cruised inside and returned to announce, "Mommy, why do you always do Cupcake Wars when Daddy and I are gone?"

"I don't know.  I didn't know what to make for lunch, so I made chocolate cupcakes. We could play again tonight."

And we did just that.  It was a New Year's Eve that will be in my heart for a lifetime.  Right up there with the year I was in Times Square having champagne sprayed in my face, only oh so much better.

As we dined on Josh's dinner Mason proclaimed that I had to be a cupcake maker and Josh would have to be an Iron Chef.  With the size of our kitchen I jumped on the cupcake idea and searched for a recipe.  I wanted a challenge, I mean it was round 2 and the last day of 2012 and there is always the $10,000 to win.  (Remember if you believe, anything is possible.)

My trusty carpenter! Have you ever seen that show? They always wear those plaid shirts.
So I researched and we were off.  Peaches and Cream Cupcakes complete with a filling?  I was up for the challenge.  Ellie was my baking assistant and Mason was my carpenter.  We had to make our 1,000 cupcake display and we really wow the judges. Mason grabbed a pencil and paper and had me sketch the design idea and he was off to work complete with his plaid shirt.  I was busy trying to pretend like I had things under control and wasn't going to miss a step on the recipe.

Here it is our Cupcake Display.  Didn't I have an awesome carpenter?  Oh and that baking assistant, I couldn't have done it without them.

So as time ticked away, we actually pulled it off.  Cupcakes were baked, filled, frosted, and the display was a show stopper.  We beat out the Grinch and won the $10,000, packed up our display, and headed to the main event.  The dance party started and yep, it was a New Year's Eve to remember.

Dancing in her "glass slippers".

Monday, December 17, 2012

"It's Just As Much Fun Decorating a Fake Tree"

I don't have photos directly related to this post, but it is all about traditions, so these from the Annual Tree Lighting event a couple of weeks ago seem to fit.
As Thanksgiving break drew to a close a few weeks ago, the sunlight and warm weather brought us outside and I thought I should put up our lights and garland.  The lighting on our fall decorations was too beautiful and I wasn't quite ready to let it all go.  The next weekend it rained nonstop, so I didn't change things then either.  Last weekend we were busy with a project and suddenly I realized 3 weeks had passed and we were that much closer to Christmas and all my projects/plans remained in my head and not in reality.  Mason and Ellie began asking me about our tree and decorations and as they continued to open their tiny doors of their Advent Calendars I began to realize there are fewer and fewer of them.

We visited Santa at the Tree Lighting, but still hadn't decorated our home.

This weekend was filled with plans and I thought, "How will I ever get it all done?" Saturday morning arrived and as we were getting up and moving and preparing for a birthday party Mason said he wasn't feeling good.  At first I thought he might just be hungry, but it wasn't long before I had good reason to stop all plans and clean the bathroom.  We would not be heading to the party and although I don't wish illness upon anyone, there was a silver lining on this dark cloud of bleck. We were sad to miss the party, but being stuck at home meant I might actually be able to clean and figure out how we might make room for a tree.

Later that day, Mason was feeling a bit better and he had been dying to try out Geocaching.  Josh took the kids on their first treasure hunt and I stayed behind to clean.  I rearranged our living room furniture and found a way to feel as though we had more space and a spot for a tree.

Building traditions: Visiting Santa at the Tree Lighting
Today we ventured out to the local tree lot and Mason told Ellie, "You smell and I'll look."  I peeked down the aisle they were in and Ellie stopped, leaned in and sniffed the trees.  Mason ran around and soon she chased after him. I love that we had the pine tree scented experience, yet I was hesitant to buy a tree there.  I remember the year we bought our first artificial tree growing up.  I remember my dad being happier without so many allergy issues.  I loved that tree.  I looked forward to setting it up each year. My dad would hang the lights and all his ornaments at the top and we would hang ours all around.  It was our tradition to buy an ornament on our family trip each year. We had quite a collection.

To me I love the memories that hang on the tree. Each ornament tells a story.  Yes, I love the smell of pine trees, and on this cold Sunday morning, Mason reminded us to smell them and we did and it was grand. Yet a part of me didn't want to bring that into my home this year. This year we will be home for Christmas and I want to welcome our family and friends without worry of bringing on an allergy attack.  I want to gaze at our tree, the lights, the memories of each of our silly ornaments.

Ellie loved dancing with The Nutcracker.  We have read that book a  lot lately at bedtime, so this was pretty magical for her. 
So I told Josh that I wanted to look at artificial trees.  We found one we liked, but passed it up because Gran offered us her old tree. We left the store with a rosemary plant and a festive entry rug and headed to her house.  Such a magical trip it was. She passed along a tiny tree with ornaments and lights for Mason and a small green tree in a bin for our family.  We took it home and spruced it up and as I pieced it together I thought of all the years of building trees at home. I went to the garage in search of something to set the tree on.  I wanted it up higher to make room at the floor.  When you live in a tiny space you have to get clever with things. My first attempt was a no go, so back out I went.  I spied a cement form and a plastic five gallon water jug and then it hit me...

I pulled out the glass 5-gallon water bottle from my Grandmother's basement that has been hanging around waiting for it's new beginning.  Last night Ellie and I made Mason Jar snow globes and today they sparkled and filled our home with the cozy feel of winter. Now our tree would be standing in style on our giant snow globe like a cork.  Just as we were getting it to work I had to leave.  I was invited to a family tea party which was simply divine.  I hated having to leave just as we were getting going, especially as Mason invited me up to his room to show me how he had decorated his tiny tree.  The kids were begging me to get the rest of the bins out, but I convinced them that the box of nutcrackers and Santa's sleigh bell would be enough until I returned.  Even though I was late, I hurried up to Mason's room to catch sight of his display and my heart, oh my heart beamed at the sight of his proud face showing me his tiny little tree.

The tea party was wonderful.  A special day with the women of Josh's side of our family. Such a fun afternoon.  If I had to be breaking away from making memories at home, this was a good place to be. My heart was full as I left and I drove to see if I could catch my trio who had called me from the grocery store.  I drove through the parking lot, but didn't spot the car, so I drove on through and as I turned I saw them, Josh in his new winter hat, Mason in his superhero costume and Ellie with her new antler hat skipping down the sidewalk.  My heart jumped for joy and I scurried to find a parking space and surprise them.

It was already dark, but after stopping to buy coffee beans and having a small cup, I even found a couple of gifts for the kids in one of the shops, I headed back home to meet them and make time to decorate our tree.  Ellie and Mason were so proud to show me how they had covered the tree with ribbons, but were eager to pull it all off to make way for the lights and ornaments.  I headed out to the shed and the bins exploded through the room.  Ellie and Mason dug through with glee finding all their treasures that had been tucked away for the year. Ellie found the lights and helped me string them on. I unwrapped and handed them ornaments telling them the stories of each one. They retold them to each other as they walked over to place them on the tree. Mason pronounced, "It's just as much fun decorating a fake tree!"  My heart spilled over with joy. Sitting there amidst our memories, making new ones as we spoke, I whole-heartedly agreed.

Our local tree in town, lit up in all her glory!
We finished hanging the last of the ornaments and tied some sparkle ribbon.  Then we turned out the lights and let her glow.  She is a beauty, that little tree standing proudly on that pedestal.  I think I'll name her Rose Marie.

*photos to come...

Saturday, December 01, 2012

"I Love You So Much..."

Me: Laying on the couch reading the new picture book Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening By Robert Frost and Illustrated by Susan Jeffers while Pandora plays "Silent Night"

Mason: Mommy will you peel my orange?
Me: Yeah.
Mason: Mommy, I love you so much.  I love you so much I am crying.  I really am.
Me: (getting all misty, while peeling the orange and seeing Mason wipe his eyes on my grandma's handmade quilt I am snuggling under)
Mason: Daddy, I love Mommy so much I was crying.
Daddy: I know.  I've felt that way.

My heart is full and then some.